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Simpson, Joe

Category: Explorer or adventurer

Joe Simpson is a mountaineer and the author of several best-selling books, of which the first, Touching the Void, won both the NCR award and the Boardman Tasker Award.

His later books are This Game of Ghosts - the sequel to Touching the Void, Storms of Silence, Dark Shadows Falling, The Beckoning Silence and a novel, The Water People.

In 1985, Simpson and climbing partner Simon Yates made a first-ascent of the previously unclimbed West Face of Siula Grande (6,344m) in the Cordillera Huayhuash in the Peruvian Andes. On the descent, Simpson broke his leg and during the subsequent self-rescue in a storm, the two became separated. The climb was nearly fatal for both climbers.

Simpson published an article in the climbing press shortly afterwards, and later wrote Touching the Void, which has now been translated into 23 languages and has sold almost two million copies worldwide.

Simpson underwent numerous surgical operations as a result of the leg injuries sustained on Siula Grande. The doctors told him he would never climb again and he would have trouble walking for the rest of his life. After 2 years of rehabilitation, he was back on the mountains.

He made six unsuccessful attempts on the North Face of Eiger from 2000 to 2003 with his regular climbing partner Ray Delaney, all aborted by bad weather.

A bad fall broke his left ankle while climbing with Mal Duff in 1991 on Pachermo in Nepal, and is described in Simpson's third book This Game of Ghosts.

His later non-fiction books describe other expeditions and his changing feeling towards extreme mountaineering brought on by the many deaths that surround the pursuit. One of his books, The Beckoning Silence, was made into a documentary shown on Channel 4 in October 2007. The book won the 2003 National Outdoor Book Award (Outdoor Literature category).

Simpson has begun another career as a motivational speaker, addressing corporate events throughout the world.

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